I’m a nontraditional student, so I’m a good 10 years older than most of my peers on campus. I’ve been around long enough now to see trends come and go. I lived through the decade of spandex, pump up Nikes, MC Hammer and scratch ‘n sniff stickers. I remember colored mascara (yes, yellow and pink mascara), slouch socks, shoulder pads and the most miserable of all haircuts … the dreaded mullet (which, I’m sad to say, is still alive with its cousin, the rat tail, in rural parts of Arkansas and Oklahoma).
One trend I recall is tapered leg pants and leggings. For you kiddoes today, they’re called “skinny jeans,” and in 10 years you’ll look back with a mixture of disgust (“wow, those were unflattering”) and fondness (“wow, was I skinny! Those were the good ol days”). In fifth grade we all wore the same boat shoes that are popular today. Ours were Coasters and we all bought them at Payless. During that summer, I got in trouble when, in a moment of pure creative inspiration, I tinted my shoelaces in the most fabulous array of colors with the smoke from smokebombs. I tried the same “painting” technique not long ago and only burned my fingers.
Really, two decades ago there were only two options for clothes shopping in Northwest Arkansas: Walmart or JCPenney. None of us had the money to shop at Dillards. Actually, there were three options. Let’s not forget the good old yard sale. This was well before anyone had ever heard of Forever 21 or Gap and the NWA mall actually had a dollar store in it. At one point, I recall wearing pink high top Converse sneakers. They were never my favorite shoes, but in elementary school I had a dinosaur obsession and those shoes had a dinosaur logo on the ankle. They were unavailable in blue, so pink it was. My point is, I used to be hip … well … semi … well, almost hip.
I hear the kids on campus mentioning hipsters and they say it like it’s a bad thing. I happen to be quite fond of hipsters. They are my underwear of choice- a nice combo of fabric lacking the wedgie-inducing skimp of a bikini and the overwhelming bulk of a brief.
Looking around campus, I’ve noticed that somehow the late 80s and early 90s never really disappeared. So it amazes me when I hear critiques in my art classes about things being “dated,” “cliché” and “out of style.” I don’t talk much, but after seeing some of the fur- fringed, dead animal looking coats, sweaters and boots I’ve seen on campus, I find myself wanting to quip, “Honey, that sweater you’re wearin’ done been dead for 10 years!” But what do I know? I’m just a moldy oldie like all that have come before the present trends. And one day, you will be too.
But I do know that the old is always new. You can bet on it.